Nyonya Chang Glutinous Rice Dumplings (Zong Zi)

Nyonya Chang Glutinous Rice Dumplings (Nyonya Zongzi)

Course: Snack
Cuisine: Chinese, Malay, Peranakan
Cook Time: 57 minutes
Servings: 12 nyonya chang
Author: Marvellina
Learn how to easily make delicious Nyonya chang with a pressure cooker or regular boiling method with step-by-step photos
Print Recipe


For rice dumplings:

To make blue color for the dumplings:

  • 1 cup dried blue pea flower
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Pork filling:

  • 8 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 6 shallots peeled, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic peeled, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp ground bean paste (tau cheo)
  • 500 gr pork butt/shoulder/or ground pork with some fat cut into little pieces if not using ground pork
  • 50 gr Chinese rock sugar
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 3 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

For wrapping:

  • 24 -30 pieces bamboo leaves
  • 4 pandan leaves cut each leave into 3 smaller pieces
  • Kitchen twine


Things to prepare the day before:

  • Soak the dried bamboo leaves in water until they are soft
  • If you are not using a pressure cooker to cook the rice dumplings, soak the glutinous rice for at least 4 hours or longer. Overnight is best if you have time

Cook the pork filling:

  • Soak mushrooms in hot water until they are soft and plump. Cut into little pieces
  • Preheat a large skillet or wok. Add cooking oil. Add shallots and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground bean paste and stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add the pork. Continue to stir fry until the pork turns opaque. Add mushrooms and sugar, rock sugar, coriander powder, and ground white pepper. Stir to mix everything. The final taste should be sweeter than savory. Add more sugar if needed. Add a small pinch of salt if needed too. Adjust the taste to your liking. Let it cool down and then cover and store in the refrigerator until the next day

On the day you plan to wrap the dumplings:

  • Drain off the water from soaking the bamboo leaves. Give the leaves a quick rinse of water and they are ready to be used
  • Place dried blue pea flower in a bowl. Pour in hot water
  • Use a spoon to press the flowers into the water and let it steep for 15 minutes. After that, squeeze out any extra water from the flower and the extract is ready to be used
  • If you soak the rice, discard water. If you don't soak the rice (because you are going to use a pressure cooker), rinse the rice in clean water. Drain off water. Mix the rice with 1 tsp of salt
  • Take out about 100 gr of the rice and place it on a bowl. Add about 4 Tbsp of the blue pea flower extract and mix it with the rice
  • The rice will pick up the blue hue color

How to wrap the zongzi:

  • Get the blue rice, pork filling, glutinous rice, and bamboo leaves to your work station
  • Use two bamboo leaves and place one on top of the other, I kinda slightly overlap them a bit to give a bit more space
  • Fold in the middle
  • and then shape into a cone
  • Place one small piece of pandan leaf on the side of the cone
  • Scoop in about a tablespoon of the blue rice. Use the back of the spoon to slightly pack it down
  • Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of the pork filling on top of the blue rice. Again use the back of the spoon to lightly pack it down 
  • Top up with more white glutinous rice, leaving about 1/4-inch from the top
  • There are many ways to wrap zongzi, you can use whichever way you are comfortable with. I fold one side down
  • Fold the opposite site down
  • They don't necessarily have to cover the rice after both sides being folded down
  • Fold the top part down
  • It will look like this now
  • Fold the two wings on the side down
  • Now you have this extra piece on top
  • Simply fold it down to either one of the side
  • There you have it
  • Tie with a kitchen twine or bamboo strings to secure it

Cooking with Instant Pot pressure cooker:

  • Place the zong zi in the inner pot of instant pot. I can cook 12 zongzi in my 6-quart instant pot. Fill up with water to make sure it covers the zongzi
  • Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press "pressure cooker" and make sure it's on "high pressure". Set the timer to 45 minutes. I think I could get away with 40 minutes, but 45 minutes give me a good result. Wait 5 minutes and then fully release pressure
  • Carefully open the lid and use a tong to gently remove the zongzi from the pot to a cooling rack. Let the water drips down. The zongzi will still be soft to touch. I recommend waiting 24 hours before eating them

Boiling on the stove:

  • Place the zongzi in a large pot. Add in water until it covers the zong zi. Bring water to a boil and then lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and let it boil for the next 2 1/2 to 3 hours
  • Carefully use a tong to gently remove the zongzi from the pot to a cooling rack to let it cool down for 24 hours before eating them. They will still be soft to touch, but will firm up once they are cooled down completely